Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

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Thomas McDonald wins prestigious award

Thomas McDonald, stage 3 MMath Mathematics student, won the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) prize for the best presentation at the Tomorrow’s Mathematicians Today Conference (TMT) 2019 for his talk on vortex visualisation

Thomas’ talk explained the general theory behind simulating multivortex systems and proceeded to explore results he had obtained from the ‘Vortex Visualiser’, a specialist software package that he had designed then built across his second year group project module and summer research project.

Thomas’ visualiser demonstrated an innovative and resourceful solution to the problem of predicting and justifying current laboratory experimentation into multivortex systems within Bose-Einstein Condensates. His explanations of the theory underlying his program, alongside that of vortex systems in general, exhibited an excellent understanding of the mathematics involved in this branch of fluid dynamics. He also highlighted the potential developments that could be incorporated into the Vortex Visualiser, in order to fine-tune the visualisations and more accurately model setups implemented in current research.

He was one of 4 students shortlisted for the award on the day of the conference, but his excellent communication skills and charismatic delivery helped him secure the appraisal of the judging body, and the £300 prize. However, out of admiration for the presentations delivered by his fellow shortlisted students, Thomas decided to share the prize between them, as in his opinion '"each of them delivered a talk worthy of the award".      
It was a fascinating day, which gave all participants the opportunity to learn about a wide range of mathematics which has excited their peers, and provided many with their first ever opportunity to present mathematics in front of a receptive audience.
Mathematics students benefit enormously from attending in a number of ways. Those going into research gain experience of the process of conference application, submission and participation; while those going into the workplace gain valuable experience in professional practice and networking, providing them with an opportunity to enhance their CVs and career prospects. Speakers additionally gain evidence of their presentation skills. All delegates gain insights into a wide range of mathematics of potential value in their future careers, meaning it is always wonderfully enjoyable day of inspiring mathematical exchange.

TMT2020 will be held in Newcastle in February 2019.

Tom McDonald Award

published on: 1 March 2019